Tag Archive: Wisdom

On Wisdom and Insight

widsom insight

In the Old Testament of today’s Mass, (Amos 7:12-15), we hear phrases like: “The Lord said to me”, and “The Lord saith to me”. These words spoken by these early believers, what do they mean? Mankind is speaking of what God is telling it, but how does God speak to them? Did mankind, back then, hear words? Did others here them as well? I think we get a better explanation, when we read further in the New Testament.

In the second reading of St. Paul to the Ephesians, (1:3-14) we hear, “…For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will”. In all wisdom and insight, these are words not to be glossed over lightly. And in the Gospel, (Mark 6:7-13) we hear, “So they went out and preached that men should repent.” They heard Jesus’ words directly to them and they went out; contrast that with St. Paul’s words of “…made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of His will”. St. Paul never met Jesus. He never heard Him preach to the peoples, and yet, St. Paul can say, “made known to us”.

Today, we want so desperately to know what God wants of us. We pray to be able to follow His direction. And still, we wonder, “What does God want of me”? If we pay close attention to these readings we realize that He IS talking to us. We just aren’t listening. Are we expecting words written in the sky? Are we waiting for whisperings in our ear? Anything physical, we would probably just doubt our own perceptions, anyway…and move on. We would think, “That can’t be God talking to me. I must have been mistaken. I didn’t see or hear right.” Maybe we are waiting to be knocked off our horse, like St. Paul and words coming from Heaven. No, St. Paul tells us, “…in all wisdom and insight”. Whose wisdom? Whose insight? Ours: yours and mine.

We pray the words, “Lord, what do you want of me? What should I do?” But, unfortunately, we then gather up our things and move on. We don’t wait for the answer. Actually, we don’t really expect an answer. We ask, but don’t expect a reply. Why? We feel that the answer that we are waiting for must be something momentous, something grand, something soul moving. But, hey, things like that don’t happen to me!! So we move on and wonder why God is not listening or answering today. My friends, we are looking in all the wrong places. His answer will be in our heart, in our wisdom and in our insight.

When we pray, especially when we are in need, we must listen to our feelings. What are we really asking of God? What problem is it that we need relief from? What is causing us to pray so earnestly to Him? Many times, an event triggers an emotion. It is usually an emotion which we have never been able to combat very effectively, in our life. And yet, we focus on the event, not the emotion, and ask God’s help with that. What is our all-loving God telling us? He is infinite, so He can tell each of us what His will is for us as individuals, what He wants of us. Just don’t wait for words to be seen or heard. Instead, listen to the stirrings within. Those feelings that take place within you, a thought of someone else, the sadness others may be feeling, the needs of others, these are God’s answer to your prayer. He IS replying to your prayer. He IS pointing out to you that others are suffering as well. His reply to our prayer will be our realization of what course we should be following.

So how do we know that we are doing the right thing? How do we know what course of action we should follow? God is still an ever-loving God. He knows our desires. He also knows our prior missteps. He hears our plea and He DOES provide. Those instincts, those sudden glimpses of helping actions… they come from Him. Take that step, Trust yourself. Trust Him. Take that first step towards what you think is right for you. “What’s right for you” is not decided by how good it makes you feel, nor what material benefits there are. No. “What’s right for you” flows out of your wisdom and insight. If this is the direction you are to follow, each succeeding step will be easier, and will be filled with God’s love. And, if this should be one more mistaken step that you are taking, God still loves you. He doesn’t wash His hands of you. His love for you will still be present to you. You will know soon enough, if not immediately, that this is not the right direction for you. How will you know? This too, will be obvious to you from your wisdom and insight.

The 5 Posts directly below, blend with this theme. They continue the thought. Thanks for coming:

1) Peace and Emotion
2) The Nature Of Prayer
3) Listening To God
4) How Wise Are We
5) Conversation With Christ

How Wise Are We?

Each of the readings in today’s Mass speak of wisdom and of using it to teach others. The Book of Wisdom, chapter 8, 2-6, speaks in glorious tones about wisdom and its intimate bond with God. It tells us of how we should cherish this virtue more than all else. For with wisdom, “…she teaches the knowledge of God.”

Today’s Gospel, Matthew 5, 13-19, having just enumerated the Beatitudes in the first 12 verses, Jesus turns to his apostles and tells them that “…you are the salt of the earth”. He goes on to say that, “…if the salt loses its savor… it is good for nothing but to be trampled underfoot.”

Bridging the two readings we have, in the first, wisdom being elevated as the highest virtue, and in the second, the Beatitudes (the expressions of Christianity) being extolled as the way of attaining total fulfillment in Christ. It is in the intimacy of God that true wisdom will be attained. And so too, with that intimacy we shall know and understand what Christianity truly means to us and to the world. Further on in the Gospel, Christ says, again to the apostles, “…you are the light of the world…men do not light a candle and then put it under a bushel basket… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”-1

This speaks to the very heart of Christianity. Our belief structure, our course of action is laid out before us. We are cautioned in other Gospels not to parade ourselves around so that people will see what we do and praise US. Our intent is to love one another, to help one another. Every good action we can do, if done in the name of Jesus and not our own, will sincerely have, as its goal, the betterment and the perfection of others. In seeing these deeds, done in the name of Jesus, people can and will raise their thoughts and hearts to glorify God.

One last caveat must be mentioned. The Gospel mentions putting our candle under a bushel basket. “Who would do that”, you ask? We do, whenever we feel embarrassed to speak of religion, to speak of our beliefs, to speak of the joys we feel when we encounter our God. We fear being considered a religious nut, out of it, not really all there. We cower under the gaze of human opinion. How sad. The very purpose that you and I are put on this earth, namely to help and love one another, we are willing to sacrifice, just so that people won’t think us strange.  That, I believe, falls under the category of putting our light, our knowledge, our God-given wisdom, under a bushel basket.

If we truly believe in God, if we truly believe in Christ’s teachings and His Resurrection, if we understand that Christ’s love works through us, then we are truly wise. Our wisdom is not intellectually obtained, it is God given. It is a gift that we can never re-pay; we cannot ever take credit for. Unfortunately, it is one that we can put a cloak over; we can hide under a bushel basket. At this time, we must ask ourselves the question, “How wise am I, really”?

-1 Matthew 5, 14-16